The removal of wisdom teeth is very common, wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come through usually in your late teens or early twenties. Because of this there often isn’t enough room for the teeth to come through properly. When this happens it is known as being impacted. This isn’t usually enough for wisdom teeth extraction however if they are causing you pain you should speak to your dentist. Don’t wait for your routine appointment, seek help as soon as possible and your dentist will offer an x-ray to better gauge the extent of the problem and determine whether removal is necessary. If you are experiencing pain it may be that food and or bacteria are getting stuck in any gaps or around the gum line where the wisdom tooth has broken through. This can cause a buildup of plaque which can in turn lead to
- Chats or benign growths
Most problems can be cleared up with a good oral hygiene routine and if necessary a course of antibiotics. If this doesn’t work then removal may be recommended. The procedure should be explained to you and not usually carried out without your consent. A local anesthetic is given to numb the area and you will feel pressure but no pain as the tooth is removed. Sometimes a small cut may be made to remove the tooth more easily or the tooth itself may be broken up and removed in small pieces. How long the procedure takes depends on each individual case.
If local anesthetic was used you can drive yourself home but it is still recommended that you take a day or two off work. If sedatives are used you should wait at least 24 hours before driving yourself anywhere.
You may have some visible bruising after, swelling and discomfort but it doesn’t usually last for more than two weeks. But if you have any concerns you should speak to your dentist.
As with any surgery, wisdom tooth removal can pose some possible risks. Infection, delayed healing and ‘dry socket’ are some potential side effects. Follow your aftercare instructions to minimise risk. You can also aid your recovery by:
- Using painkillers, always read and follow the dosage instructions
- Avoid overdoing it, no exercise and try not to talk too much.
- Try using an extra soft pillow at night
- For 24 hours avoid hot drinks and brushing that area. You don’t want to dislodge any blood clots forming in the empty socket. They help the healing process.
- Gently rinse the extraction site with antiseptic mouthwash after 24 hours, and repeat this regularly over the next few days, particularly after eating – you can also use warm water with a teaspoon of salt as mouthwash to reduce gum soreness and inflammation.
Make sure you finish any course of antibiotics and things should settle down within a couple of weeks. Schedule a follow up appointment for a week or two after the procedure. Any stitches will likely be removed at this appointment.